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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

OFFICIAL HISTORY: ITS PITF!LLS ^AND CRITERIA
is equally true of the publication of the official corres-
pondence of any Foreign Office. Furthermore, it is
bdund to be true of diplomatic papers published in these
circumstances—and it is particularly true of those
which are being published after the Second World War
as editorial comments show—that the editors will be
preoccupied with the question of the responsibility for
the war itself, and this preoccupation will govern the
selection and the unconscious framework of the series.
But a selection which is adequate for this particular
publicistic purpose may be insufficient for the purposes
of scientific research.

It has even proved possible in the history of historical
science for a release of diplomatic documents to carry
students further away from the truth than before, if the
release has not been a total one. When Frederick the
Great opened the Seven Years* War in 1756 he daimed
that he had been provoked by the discovery of a dan-
gerous conspiracy against him. The partial opening
of archives in the mid-nineteenth century made men
more sceptical of his assertions than before—for
ambassadors, far from giving any hint of such con-
spiracy or tension, were even fourfd to have commented
on the quietness of the diplomatic situation in the very
period in question. When there is a secret conspiracy,
however, it stands to reason that this will only show
evidence of itself in the more secret diplomatic corres-
pondence of the time; and though some minute
detective work came near the truth, it was only when the
archives for this period were fully opened from the
i86o's (revelations completed when in 1912 the Russian
H.H.R.                         209                               o